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1-min read

Rat-atouille for Holidays? Shoppers Flock to Assam Market to Buy Fresh, Roasted Rats at Top Price

Destined to be boiled, skinned and then cooked in a spicy gravy, rat is more popular than chicken and pork with customers at the Sunday market in the village of Kumarikata in Assam

AFP

Updated:December 26, 2018, 5:50 PM IST
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Rat-atouille for Holidays? Shoppers Flock to Assam Market to Buy Fresh, Roasted Rats at Top Price
Local vendors sell freshly-caught cooked and uncooked rats in Kumarakoti village in Assam. (Image: AFP)
Kumarikota: Freshly-caught rat is at the top of the holiday menu for crowds flocking to a market in northeastern India that specialises in rodents from local fields.

Destined to be boiled, skinned and then cooked in a spicy gravy, rat is more popular than chicken and pork with customers at the Sunday market in the village of Kumarikata in Assam state.

Shoppers buy hundreds of freshly caught and skinned rats that local farmers say are hunted to avoid damage to their fields in the state which borders Bhutan. The ready-roasted kind also goes down well.

Rat has become a valuable source of income for the poor "Adivasi" tribal people who struggle to make ends meet working in Assam's famed tea gardens.

In the winter months when tea picking slumbers, the Adivasis go to rice paddies to trap rats for the market.

A kilogramme (2.2 pounds) of rat meat, which is considered a delicacy, sells for about 200 rupees ($2.8) — as much as for chicken and pork.

Farmers say the region has seen growing numbers of rats in recent years.

"We put traps in the fields as the rats eat people's paddy," Samba Soren, a rat vendor at Kumarikata, told AFP.

The rodents are hunted at night during the harvesting season with traps made from bamboo.

The traps are placed at the entrance of the rat-holes in the evening and the rodents are caught as they come out to scavenge.

The vendors have to work at night to make sure other predators do not get to the dead rats first. Some of the rats weigh more than a kilogramme and the market traders say they get between 10 and 20 kilogrammes a night.​
(Get detailed and live results of each and every seat in the Lok Sabha elections and state Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim to know which candidate/party is leading or trailing and to know who has won and who has lost and by what margin. Our one-of-its-kind Election Analytics Centre lets you don a psephologist’s hat and turn into an election expert. Know interesting facts and trivia about the elections and see our informative graphics. Elections = News18)
| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
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